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Day 1 and 2: Media Consumption

When I was told that I was to make myself a log for 2 consecutive days on the media that I consume in my every day life, I knew that assignment was going to be a piece of cake. But what was then explained to me was that after I consumed my media for the 2 days I was going to have to live without the media for the next 2 days. I thought to myself, I don’t think that is possible.

Personally it is very hard not to “consume media”. This is because I have a blackberry. Inside a blackberry it has a phone, e-mail, Facebook, and the internet which links me to the news, the weather, sports and many other media sources. With just my blackberry in my hand, I am automatically linked to the media.

Day 1 and Day 2 were very easy. On Day 1, Monday February 15th, I woke up from the alarm blaring through my phone for the first day back at classes since the week off we had because of the snowstorm (or should I say blizzard). When I finally rolled out of bed, my first instinct was to go to my computer and check my ‘Facebook’.  First source of media.

I then brushed my teeth, put in my contacts and hopped into the shower. When I got out of the shower and was more awake, I realized that my room in a media haven. I have posters on my wall, I have books and magazines, and I have a television and radio in my room. I even forgot about the mail that I received for Valentine’s Day.  I immediately turned on the television and watched “The View” while getting dressed.  I haven’t left my room and I am surrounded by media.

Once I finished preparing myself for a full day of classes and I checked my Facebook one last time before I left. I then headed for the union to have lunch with my sisters of the sorority Alpha Xi Delta before I had class at 2pm. Walking down the hall of my dorm; I heard radios and televisions in other rooms. I noticed advertisements, notices and menus posted on the walls and on the bulletin boards. I really never payed attention to this before. As I walked to the Student Union, I noticed Towson’s electronic board displaying Towson events.  Even while I was standing in line to get my salad I noticed advertisements posted on the wall for school events, and then my phone started to buzz. An E-mail. Thank goodness for my Blackberry.

Through out the day my phone will buzz whether I am in class and can not check it or just walking through campus more than once with an e-mail, a Facebook notification, a text message, etc.  These are all constant sources of media. In addition, I think I am more aware of all of the signage posted around campus that I never noticed before.

Once I was done with my day of classes and came back to my room to relax I needed to study for MCOM 101 quiz that was the next day (February 16, 2010). Since for the quiz each student had to find 3 articles from the New York Times, I sat down to read the newspaper on-line. The newspaper is another media source.  While reading my articles and reviewing my notes for the quiz, I had my computer on. In another tab on internet explorer I had Facebook open just so I could see if anybody would be writing on my wall or someone wanted to ‘Facebook’ chat.  I realized that even while studying, I needed my media sources to be available to me.

At 9pm I had my weekly meeting with my sisters of Alpha Xi Delta in the union. During that meeting I wasn’t really influenced by any additional sources of media, which I hadn’t noticed earlier. But when I came back to my dorm room at around 10:30pm I realized I had missed one of my favorite shows, One Tree Hill, that was on at 8pm (I went to dinner with some of my sisters in AXiD before meeting, making me miss the show).  So when I came back to my room, I went on the internet and was able to watch it right then and there. After all that media consumption for one day it was time to go to sleep.

The next day, Day 2, was Tuesday February 16, 2010. I was again surrounded by the media. Same as Day 1, my morning started exactly the same. Get up, check Facebook, shower, and watch a little TV, while I got dressed.  The only thing different was that, I reviewed my New York Times articles and read over my MCOM notes. All media.

Through out the day I was overwhelmed by the media. You can’t escape it. With my Facebook notifications and the emails coming to my phone through out the day, I am constantly in touch with the media. I was also more observant of notices, publications, magazines, books and ads throughout the school buildings and the campus, over the pass 2 days.

I returned to my dorm and started homework. I suppose it is a habit, but I like to have the television on while I am doing my homework.  As I did my homework with the television on in the background, I noticed many commercials.  Some commercials caught my eye and I noticed the product placement and was influenced by some of them. Media changes the way people look and things. It even influenced me to go downstairs and get myself a Diet Pepsi.

After all my homework was done my friend and I went for a ride to go to Chipotle for dinner. We listened to the radio, which is another source of media. We listened to mostly music with occasional news/entertainment, weather and traffic stories. In addition, the commercials on the radio were really audio ads that attempted to influence the way you think. We almost went for pizza because of a radio ad that we heard on our way to Chipotle. But we were in the mood for quesadillas. I noticed at Chipotle all of their ads for dinner combos that could save you money. Normally, I would have gotten my usual dinner, but this time the media actually saved me money.

After I was done for the day with everything that I had to do, I finally was able to go to bed. While I lay in bed, I watch and/or listen to TV because it relaxes me and helps me fall asleep.  I even sleep with the media.

I never realized until writing this log how much media is in my everyday life. Media is constant. You can’t hide from it. It is surrounding us everywhere. From the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. However, the media does keep me in touch with what goes on in my immediate surroundings, with my family and friends, as well as what is going on in the world. Without it I might be living a very sheltered life. I also realized that I am on my Blackberry constantly and if I am not then I am checking it every free moment I have. Why do I need all of this media? Is it my fault that media is pushed upon me or is it just the way life is?  The next two days are going to be a struggle without any media. But we will see how it goes. Stay tuned.

NICHE.

While sitting on the couch or lying in bed, do you ever think to your self while watching television or a movie or reading a magazine or newspaper “Why did they choose that?” or “Why am I watching/reading this?

Don’t think that this is a coincidence. Producers/editors realize that each person is different and each person likes something else. They choose what they put on the TV or in the magazine for a specific reason. We are all part of a “Niche Audience”, or a fraction of a total market. The American viewing audience has highly specific needs. So whether you want to learn your ABC’s, watch a sporting event, like ice fishing or even learn how to bake a cake, television marketers are making sure that it is all right there for you. Each person’s interest is taken into consideration. People don’t think about this when they watch television or read a magazine. When watching television, one might say to them that this one show is about me. What you don’t realize is that it is not only about you but also about millions of other viewers saying the same thing.

I didn’t realize this until watching the video “Media History: The Story of Film, TV, & Media” in Intro to Mass Communications at Towson University. The television network grew from three networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC. Television was simple and life was simple. Now from three networks we have broadcasting as well as cable networks. The television industry/era skyrocketed. Today we have more than 100 channels with something different for each person to be interested in. The television industry has looked at all of the different “Niche Audiences” and addressed their interests by producing shows on more topics than I knew even existed.

I never thought about why this television program was so appealing or why I wanted to watch. What I didn’t realize is that I am interested because it is directed towards me. It was not by accident but it is on purpose that I enjoy this show. I can relate to it and I can put my self in their shoes.  I remember seeing an interview with Ray Romano. He was the writer, producer and star of “Everyone Loves Raymond”. He was asked why he thought his show was so successful. Ray believed it was because the story lines were taken from real people’s lives and people could relate to them.

Most people in America watch television. Typically we are usually watching a show for a reason. It’s not because it is just something to watch; but it is usually something that you personally enjoy and can relate to. You may learn something new, or just be entertained.  You may not think about it at the time but this television show was targeted just for you. The television market found “your niche”.

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